Both opportunities are full time four-year programmes that would combine an MSc and a PhD on one of two topics, drawing on The Audience Agency and other datasets and are intended to:
- develop new and useful learnings that support our area of work,
- and help increase the pool of people with advanced analytics skills in this area.
We’re anticipating that it would be well suited to people who have an understanding of the cultural sector as well as an interest in learning the analytical methods (i.e. they don’t need to be a specialist analyst already - the purpose of the programme is to provide that training alongside the PhD).
The Available Topics
1. Patterns of Engagement: Commonalities and Distinctions Within Arts Attendance Online and In-Person.
Institution | University of Sheffield
Primary Supervisor | Dr Mark Taylor
TAA Lead | Oliver Mantell
How can we understand contemporary audiences for different artforms in a post-pandemic world in which people are engaging with the arts both online and in person? This project will provide the most extensive opportunity yet to draw insights on cultural engagement from several unique and underutilised cultural datasets including Audience Finder Ticketing and Survey datasets as well as the Cultural Participation Monitor. The research will have a particular emphasis on groupings of engagement, drawing on the insights into specific artforms and audience profiles, responses and behaviours – as well as looking at how online engagement fits within wider cultural engagement. This gives an opportunity to make a distinctive contribution to cultural policy as well as sector impact. Throughout, it will have a major focus on how answers to these questions relate to social inequality.
Application deadline: 1st April 2022
Why We’re Offering Them
Supporting two PhDs over four years is a big commitment for agency like ours, but it’s something we're keen to do, for several reasons:
- We want to support learning about cultural audiences – it’s a key part of our mission, so anything that helps build understanding of audiences, better represent the public’s needs and wants in decision-making, and supports efforts to increase engagement help achieve what we set out to do
- We want to support development of insight capacity within the sector – there’s plenty of room for more analytics expertise in the cultural sector and we recognise our responsibility to support that (which we do in a range of other ways too, e.g. training up our own team of expert researchers and delivering sector support and development).
- We’re interested in the new knowledge the PhDs will create – we’re always keen to learn more about cultural engagement and a key part of the point of PhDs is creating new knowledge. We’re exciting to see what that will be. Clustering of audience behaviour and understanding of place in particular are likely to continue to be important to us and our work, too – so the more we can learn in this area, the better.
- It’s great to see Audience Finder and other Audience Agency datasets being used – we’ve done a variety of other academic partnership (e.g. a special issue of Cultural Trends [link]) and would love to see more use of our unique datasets by other researchers. Part of being a responsible custodian of this data is ensuring that it creates value for cultural organisations, funders and the wider sector.
- We value working with academic partners and the intellectual exchange that results – The Audience Agency does lots of work with universities, from our CEO Anne Co-Directing the Centre for Cultural Value, consultancy projects with and for cultural partners, and ‘giving back’ through a range of guest lectures. Working closely with academics allows different types of innovation, provides breadth of perspective and depth of analysis and, of course, puts us in dialogue with a wide range of interesting and knowledgeable people.
We’ve explained why we think it’s a great opportunity from our perspective, but we think it’s an exciting opportunity for the person doing the PhD too. There’s funding of £16k per year, an excellent programme of training, exceptional supervisors at the University of Sheffield and links to us as an industry partner, to provide access to datasets and practical expertise as well as help ensure there’s impact and dissemination of your work.
If these opportunities sound interesting to you, do get in touch with either:
And if you think they sound interesting to other people, do please share the details.
The application process is fairly light-touch (more details are available via the links given earlier), but there’s a short deadline (of 1 April).
We will, of course, continue to share information about these PhDs as they progress...